Several years ago I did a Daniel fast to start the year. A friend who was also going through a Daniel fast at the same time blessed me with a book, Fasting Journal: Your Personal 21 Day Guide to a Successful Fast by Jentezen Franklin. In his book, Franklin says that “the discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian”. The book has 21 days of devotions that help you to structure your times of worship and prayer and encourages you to record your experiences and prayers in a journal. I want to share a portion of the conclusion to the book. In it are Franklin’s 12 steps to victory. My prayer is that these 12 steps bless you as much as they have blessed me.
Battles will rage long after you have completed your fast. Some things you lay hold of during the fast will require further diligence to see victory.
To help you “Stay the course” in the days after your fast - and throughout the year - remember these twelve points and apply them to your life to see the victory of the Lord come to pass in your circumstances.
1. Make it hard on God and easy on you. Take the pressure off yourself to make things happen, because that’s God’s job
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John 5:40 (NKJV)40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
John 6:29 (NKJV)29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
2. Keep on swinging. Don’t settle for partial victory
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
3. God says, “When you approach a door that is very large, do not fear, because I will open it.” When God opens the door, no man can shut it.
Revelation 3:7-8 (NKJV)7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens":8 I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
4. Don’t move in the dark. If you don’t know God’s will, don’t move.
Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
Exodus 14:13 (NKJV)13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
Ruth 3:18 (NKJV)18 Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day."
5. Be strong and very courageous. If you lack courage, pray.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
6. Don’t do anything until you ask the Lord first. He will give you a clear word.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
7. Don’t ask how much it costs; ask God if He wants it done. If so, He’ll take care of the cost.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV)8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
3 John 1:2 (NKJV)2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
8. Be patient. God loves the last-minute save! Whoever believes will not act hastily.
Isaiah 28:16 (NKJV)16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.
9. Don’t stick to sensible methods. If the Lord tells you to do something, do it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Isaiah 25:3-4 (NKJV)3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You.4 For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, A shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
10. Practice the John the Baptist factor: “He must increase, but I must decrease”.
John 3:30 (NKJV)30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
11. Look out! you haven’t seen anything yet when you mix faith with the Word of God.
Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)4 "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
12. P-U-S-H; Pray Until Something Happens or Praise Until Something Happens.
Psalm 149:2 (NKJV)2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
2 Chronicles 20:21 (NKJV)21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever."
Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
If you follow these 12 steps and make them a part of your life they will lead you to victory even in this fallen world.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The purpose of fasting is not to get God to grant our every wish. Fasting is a seeking after God’s heart, all other blessings and benefits being secondary to God Himself. This is what sets biblical fasting apart from not eating just to lose weight and feel better physically. Those things may happen as a result of your fast but that’s not the purpose of a biblical fast.
Fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, but it starts with your body. Don’t start a fast without some preparation.
If you are under a doctor’s care or take medications that call for you to eat before taking them check with your doctor before starting a fast. If you plan on fasting for several days, you may want to start eating smaller meals, before you stop eating altogether. Don’t eat one last huge meal before you start the fast. Doing this will let your mind, stomach and appetite adapt to less food.
Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. Also start to wean yourself off caffeine and sugar. This will help you in the early days of your fast.
There are a number of personal fasts a Christian can do they include;
1. THE FASTS GOD CHOOSES The biblical base, varieties, benefits and background of the kind of fasting that pleases God .
2. THE DISCIPLE'S FAST Fasting for freedom from addiction (see Matt. 17:20,21). If we fast, we can break the besetting sins that limit a life of freedom in Christ .
3. THE EZRA FAST Fasting to solve problems (see Ezra 8:21-23). If we fast for a specific purpose, we may solve a debilitating problem .
4. THE SAMUEL FAST Fasting to win people to Christ (see 1 Sam. 7:1-8). If we fast and pray for revival, God will pour Himself on His people .
5. THE ELIJAH FAST Fasting to break crippling fears and other mental problems (see 1 Kings 19:2-18). Through fasting, God will show us how to overcome negative emotional and personal habits .
6. THE WIDOW’S FAST Fasting to provide for the needy (see 1 Kings 17:12). When we sacrifice our own physical needs, God enables us to focus on and provide for the needs of others .
7. THE SAINT PAUL FAST Fasting for insight and decision making (see Acts 9:9-19). If we fast to subject our will to God’s, He will reveal His will to us .
8. THE DANIEL FAST Fasting for health and physical healing (see Dan. 1:12-20). When we fast for physical well-being, God will touch our bodies and enrich our souls .
9. THE JOHN THE BAPTIST FAST Fasting for an influential testimony (see Matt. 3:4; Luke 1:15). If we fast for the influence of our testimonies, God will use us .
10. THE ESTHER FAST Fasting for protection from the evil one (see Esther 4:16). If we fast for protection and deliverance from Satan, God will deliver us from evil . (From Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns)
Fasts can be any of these types;
Occasional Short Fasts
Denying yourself food or some other pleasure, an occasional fast that lasts six, twelve, or twenty-four hours.
This is normally a regular act of abstinence, for example one day a week.
A longer fast might last from one to three days.
The length of time for this fast will vary from one person to the next and will probably also increase as your experience of fasting grows.
If you want a closer walk with God, a way of getting away from the cares of this world, and experience the peace of God, I encourage you to make fasting a faith practice in your life.
Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJV)20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
When you fast and pray in faith God will reward and guide you.
Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV)21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.